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FAQs on Arowanas Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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Related FAQs:  Arowanas 1, Arowanas 2, & FAQs on: Arowanas Identification, Arowanas Behavior, Arowanas Compatibility, Arowanas Selection, Arowanas Systems, Arowanas Disease, Arowanas Reproduction, & Bony Tongue Fishes, Aba Aba Knifefish, African Butterflyfish, Arapaimas, Featherfin Knives, Mormyrids, New World Knifefishes,

My Arowana Tank (.com)

NOT feeder goldfish; NOT wild freshwater organisms.

Arowana; comp.; fdg.       2/23/16
Hi crew!
I have a silver Arowana and am aware of its size
<Good, because these things are massive, and more importantly, don't adapt nearly as well to captivity as the Asian Arowanas.>
and yes I have a big enough tank for it, a 500 gallon just for it when I can put my red tail catfish back outside for the season.
<Sounds like a good plan.>
It's about 13" and I have been having trouble getting it to feed.
<What are you offering?>
It will eat anything, but not off the surface of the water.
<Curious. Try crickets or mealworms. They usually attract their attention.
Is there anything else at the surface? Something that might be threatening it? Have you tried moderating the lighting a bit? Very bright light probably isn't helpful. Floating plants give them something to explore, and if you starve the Arowana for a week or so, then add some floating food or even crickets/mealworms, he'll have to forage up there.>
It will wait for the food items to go down to the gravel bed and then will go eat it.
<Well, so long as it's eating...>
There are Oscars, a jaguar cichlid, a gar, and 2 clown knives in this tank as well and they all go down to the bottom to feed so then I offer the Arowana food at the top and she sees it, ignores it and feeds off the bottom like everyone else.
<Sounds like learned behaviour.>
I have tried strictly floating pellets and she still wants her food at the bottom. I don't want her developing drop eye from feeding off the bottom of the tank as she is a lovely albino and worth a lot to me sentimentally.
<Understood. Here's the thing. Drop/Droop Eye in Arowanas is extremely common and nobody really knows why. One argument is that Arowanas focus where the activity is, and if it's below them, their eyes "lock" in the droopy position. So if tankmates are at the bottom, that's where there attention will be. Keeping them on their own, or only with surface dwellers, and exclusively feeding floating foods, should help if this is the case, and to some degree it does. Drop/Droop Eye really is
characteristic of Arowanas kept in smallish tanks with midwater and bottom swimming tankmates. The second argument is that Drop/Droop Eye is dietary, with excess fat or some sort of vitamin deficiency to blame. So focusing on a leaner, more varied diet will help here. Finally, there's the argument it's caused by trauma, whether physically bumping into the glass or
something more subtle like water pressure. If this is the case, avoiding fright responses (no tankmates) and providing the biggest possible enclosure will be part of the prevention. These are all ideas, and you'll need to research them all, but I think you can get some tips from how zoos keep them. Very big, deep tanks with subdued lighting and few tankmates.
Diet is very carefully managed, and often a lot less than home hobbyists provide.>
I am also looking for a monster catfish for my indoor pond and have narrowed it down to red tail catfish and Tiger shovel nose. Which one is generally smaller (relative term for both) and easier to manage?
<Tigers are longer than RTCs, but tend to be leaner, so there's really not a lot in it. Neither makes a good aquarium fish, though of the two, the Tiger Shovelnose has perhaps the (marginally) better track record. But even with 500 gallons you're basically keeping a horse in a suburban back garden, so there's a great many catfish I'd look at before either of these.
Adonis Plecs or example, or a school of Sorubim lima. All sorts.>
I have weighed to pros and cons of both and I am wondering which of the two if you had proper facilities for both which one you would pick. Thanks
<I'd pick neither, but then I'm a conservative fishkeeper! Cheers, Neale.>

Baby Arowana With Yolk Sack Nutrition      8/6/14
Greetings Crew, I've recently picked up a few silver Arowanas. The yolk sack will probably disappear in 3 days would be my guess and are 3 to 4 inches in length. I do have a 1800g aquaponic res. they will eventually be stocked in all by themselves.
<More than one male... may fight>
Currently they are in a long 55g for about 3 days now. My question is when and what would be the best foods to start on.
<Things that float, are alive>

I have heard bloodworms or Krill, but thought there must be something better.
<Let's see what we have archived:
Mmm; not much... insects like fruit flies, larvae like mosquito larvae; small crustaceans... FW easier like Daphnia... Brine shrimp will get lost too easily and rot here>
I also heard what food they start on will be there favorite later.
<Nah.... won't be interested in too-small items with growth/size>
I have access to frozen foods, pellets, flakes, live brine shrimp, live red wriggler compost worms, various species of fry and cherry shrimps. Also do you have any tips on raising these fish at such a fragile stage?
<Read the linked files above the citation I've given you; invest in some books... there are ones specifically on this Osteoglossid>
Do you also advise people to avoid purchasing at such a small size?
<Mmm; no; IF they have the time, dedication to study, provide adequate care... best to start small>
I have researched online and have found conflicting reports. Thanks for your help. Aloha Brandon
<A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner, who has raised many, even collected them in the wild>
Re: Baby Arowana With Yolk Sack Nutrition    8/7/14

Thank you for reply Bob, very much appreciated. I'm out collecting insect larvae as a tropical storm is bearing down on us(Haha). Thanks for the great site. Aloha Brandon
<And you my friend. BobF>
Re: Baby Arowana With Yolk Sack Nutrition       8/9/14

Greetings Crew, I wanted to give you guys an update on my baby Aros.
They have now lost their yolks and have picky eaters thus far. After I had talked to you last, I managed to capture a few small millipedes from a worm bin, a few large ants and compost worms. We were experiencing high winds and rain so my bug collecting was limited(no fruit flies).
<Best (and very easy) to culture fruit flies. MUCH on the Net re>
Initially I dropped in a few very small worms, hoping they would get picked up on the drop, but no. I then tried a millipede maybe a 1 1/4in in size.
<Too large>
It floated an was investigated but no strike. Eventually sinking to bottom and crawling up and out the side of tank.(luckily this tank is in my garage) . Next the ants, larger species of some sort(I don't spray
pesticides at my house) and action. They were immediately struck. Each fish got one ant. Later that evening being out of ants, I tried Hikari bloodworms freeze dried(suggested by a friend). They were rejected. I then threw in a small cichlid pellet,
it was investigated but no consumption. Running out of options, I decided to hang a worm and let it dangle in water. This seemed very effective.
Each fish received 2 small red wigglers.
<Ah, good>
So at this point I'm at day three without yolks. These guys will accept worms(which I have plenty) and ants(which I cant get more of at the moment, we are getting blasted with wind of 40mph and lots of rain for a couple days). Not being able to leave my garage for other supplies I tossed in some 3 day old guppy fry. They were consumed within a couple hours.
<Oh yes>
Do you think this is a suitable diet(worms and/or guppy fry) for a couple days, until I can get these guys some additional foods?
<Yes; assuredly>
Also I managed to buy some small mealworms a few days and later heard not to feed to smaller Aros. I finally opened the container and they all look dead. Could these be used in any capacity?
<You can try>
Do I keep trying freeze dried and pellets(even though its compromising my water quality)?
<Worth trying as well.... >
I have been aiming for 3 feedings a day of one worm each feeding, does this seem right.
As far as filtration, this tank is a 55g(long), HOB(395gph) with chem. filtration(Zeo), powerhead, airstone, and cycled sponge filter. I'm holding four fish, at point should I transfer to 1800g res. Thank you for your time and experience. Aloha Brandon
<And you, BobF>
Re: Baby Arowana With Yolk Sack Nutrition       8/9/14

Sorry for grammatical errors above, I spell checked after the fact. Thanks
<I thank you, B>

flower horn and Arowana not eating   9/26/11
Dear WWM Crew, we had bought a flower horn and a Arowana last week and put then in a tank, we set the temperature is fixed at 28 deg. Celsius, fitted a water filter and added salt in the water.
<Why? Salt is stressful to Arowanas. They are soft water fish. The right way to keep them is in a big, spacious aquarium with a good filter and regular water changes. Let's say you're keeping an Asian Arowana, Scleropages formosus. These get to at least 60 cm in captivity, and potentially 80-90 cm. So we're talking about a 200 US gallon/750 litre aquarium, minimum. 20-25% water changes weekly, and a filter with a turnover rate of at least 6 times the volume of the tank per hour, and ideally 8-10. Ammonia and nitrite must both be zero; nitrate levels as low as possible, certainly less than 20 mg/l. Water chemistry should be middling hardness for this combination of species; around 10 degrees dH, pH 7-7.5.>
Our flower horn is almost 5'' inches and the Arowana is around 9" inches of length.
<Even if your Arowana is a youngster at 9 inches/22 cm, that fish will still need a very large aquarium, 450 litres/120 US gallons. Such a tank would be adequate for a few months, but why waste your money on such a tank? It won't be useful for more than a year, at most. Arowanas grow extremely quickly in the right conditions. Throw in a cichlid as well, and the importance of aquarium size and filtration are even more critical.>
Both the fishes are quite active and moving around the tank but Flower horn use to hold a corner of the tank most of the time but both the fishes don't eat anything , We gave them Tetrabits, shrimp and humpy head and even chili red but doesn't work at all. We are very much worried because we are very new with fishes and don't know about them.
<These fish can take a few days to settle into their new home. But they will only become settled if the aquarium is correct. How big is the tank?
What sort of filtration are you using?>
Please suggest us how to maintain the aquarium and give them a better habitat and make them healthy and start eating.
I will be very obliged if you can reply to my other queries. Awaiting a response from your end.
<Can't really offer advice without knowing more about your aquarium.>
Thank you
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: flower horn and Arowana not eating   9/26/11
Thanks for your suggestion.
<You are welcome. Now, please don't write messages in ALL CAPITALS again! I
changed this message for you because I'm a nice guy. Some of the other folks here would simply ask you to resend your message.>
We are using a tank with 24",10",18" as length breadth and height,
<Much, MUCH too small for an Arowana or a Flowerhorn, let alone kept together!>
a water filter
<What sort? How much turnover?>
a oxygen pump
<An air bubbler?>
a heater with temperature is set on 28 deg. C.
We put stones in the bottom but the water gets dirty as the fishes doesn't eat anything,
<The water is dirty because the tank is too small for these fish.>
we don't have anything to measure the ph level.
<pH isn't a critical issue provided extremes are avoided. But you should test the pH of your tap water at least once just so you know what it is.>
As we are using the same water in another tank with different fishes like goldfish
<These are much tougher animals that Arowanas, so this experience is irrelevant.>
and shark
<Shark? You mean a Shark-Minnow, like Epalzeorhynchos bicolor?>
and they are very comfortable in that.
<Water chemistry may well be fine. But the tank is too small. These animals will be stressed, sickened by their "world". You need a much bigger home for them. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: flower horn and Arowana not eating   9/26/11

Thanks Neale for helping me and ignoring my mistakes.
<Always glad to help.>
I'll bought a bigger tank and I had separated both the fishes (flower horn and Arowana) in different tanks individually.
need a suggestion, will I replace the tank water with mineral water (bisleri).
will it works.
<Plain tap water, with water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramine, is usually best. Do understand that Flowerhorn cichlids prefer somewhat hard water, and soft water will harm them. Arowanas aren't too fussy, but dislike very hard water. Cheers, Neale.>

ARO not eating   6/22/10
Hi crew
I've got a 20" Silver that I've had since he was 7" (about 9 months) All I've ever fed him is krill.
<Wet-frozen or dried? There is a connection between dried foods and constipation -- imagine if all you ever ate was beef jerky! In addition, a single "animal" food like this, whether krill, bloodworms, or anything else isn't a reliable food source. You must provide a more varied diet.>
About four days ago he stopped eating. He will still strike it, take it in his mouth, even chew it a little, but doesn't swallow.
<Switch to something else. In the short term, use forceps to feed earthworms, if you can find/buy some. These are very nutritious and filled with soil, which helps shift constipation. Arowanas also enjoy live insects, and crickets that have been "dusted" (with vitamins and/or calcium) are particularly good treats. Remember, wild Arowanas feed heavily on insects that fall onto the surface of the water. So anything along those lines will be readily taken. Once feeding, do try to include a mix of fresh foods such as strips of tilapia fillet along with dried foods.>
The only nourishment he's getting is from whatever Blackworms he manages to pick up while I'm feeding the rest of the stock. Anyone have any ideas?
<Do check he isn't being bullied. Arowanas are generally not social, and mix poorly with one another. Check also the aquarium is big enough for your fish, and that water quality, chemistry and temperature are where they should be for this species. Silver Arowanas get extremely large, and have a somewhat bad record as home aquarium fish.>
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Please Advice... Arowana sys., fdg.   11/21/09
Dear Sir,
I have 7 inches Silver Arowana. When I got it , it was of 6 inches only. It is about one month with me.
<Still very much a baby.>
The aquarium size is 2.5 ft X 1 ft X 1.5 ft (height).
<Much too small.>
I have another aquarium of 42 inch X 18 inch X 24 inch (height) ready to shift this Arowana when it grows.
<Good. But even this tank is marginal. Silver Arowana get to around 90 cm (~3 feet) long, and it's hard to keep them in anything less than tanks 2 metres (about 6 feet) in length.>
I have been feeding him with guppies and Mollies. Can I continue this or not?
<I would not be feeding them live fish at all. Are you breeding these Mollies at home, or do you buy them from a pet shop? If you breed your own feeders, that's relatively safe. But buying cheap fish from a pet shop is very unwise. Since Arowanas eat all sorts of foods, including pellets, it is safer and more nutritious to use these. Crickets, mealworms, earthworms and river shrimps make safe live foods. Wet-frozen foods like lancefish, prawns and mussels are good. Companies like Sera make Arowana pellet foods.
I wouldn't use them all the time because dried foods tend to cause constipation, but for about 50% of their diet, such pellets would be ideal.>
I have not added any salt to the water.
It is doing very good.
<Nice to know.>
Do I need to add salt to the water?
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Please Advice. Silver Arowana sys., fdg.   11/21/09

Dear Mr. Neale,
<It's just Neale. Or Dr. Monks. But between friends, let's just stick with Neale!>
Thanks a lot for your inline reply.
<Happy to help.>
I will shift to the feed as advised by you.
But when I got it, I tried to give the feed of shrimps, pallets, dried warms ...But it was not taking them.
<Often happens.>
They were lying till next day morning. Then I tried with Mollies and guppies for which it was happy and eating. How can I migrate the baby Arowana to the advised diet?
<Since he's eating these foods, "wean" him off them. This means one day next week, offer him something else, maybe some crickets or an earthworm.
Insects are the natural food of Arowana in the wild, and a perfect food for them. If he doesn't take them, remove the uneaten food within a few minutes -- and let him starve that day. Try again the next day. It may take 2-3 days before he eats new foods -- but he will! Big fish can go two weeks without food, so this isn't dangerous. Anyway, once you have him taking other live foods (like mealworms, crickets and earthworms) try him with frozen foods. A small piece of prawn or white fish fillet is ideal. Use long forceps or a wooden satay stick to hold the food. Wiggle the food to make it look alive. Hopefully, he will come and bite the food. The idea is to teach him to eat anything you offer. Eventually, predatory fish will eat all sorts of foods, because they learn anything you give them is tasty and nutritious! Once that happens, your Arowana will take pellet foods.>
Please advice me.
In an year how long the Arowana will grow?
<The usual estimate is one inch per month for the first year (in metric,
that's about 2.5 cm per month). So you can expect a Silver Arowana to be at least 12 inches/30 cm after the first year. In good conditions, they can grow faster than this. So take this as the MINIMUM.>
So that I can prepare for the advised size of aquarium.
<Plan ahead! 200 gallons/750 litres is often quoted as the minimum tank size for this species, but honestly, they probably need more than this to do well.>
Thanks in advance Mr. Neale.
<You are most welcome.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Please Advice, Arowana fdg., Oscar sys.
 -- 12/08/09
Dear Neale,
Good Morning.
<Hello again,>
Now my Arowana is eating the food that I provide except for shrimp food of Taiyo company. Some how it did not like this particular brand's food.
<Give it time. "Hunger makes the best sauce" is an expression we say in England; if you skip a meal or two, your Arowana will eat this food!>
Well. Goo news is that my 6ftX3ftX3ft is getting ready. I want to keep my silver Aro along with 2 copper and 2 tiger Oscars in that. They are all together in the present small aquarium. I plan to shift them on 11th of this month.
Please advice me on the following things.
1. What type of stones/gravel should I fill in the bottom?
<Minimal. The Oscars dig, and the Arowana doesn't care. So use a thin layer (2 cm maybe) just to cover the glass and stop reflections. I'd go with smooth gravel of some sort.>
2. What type of filtration system is advised.
<Certainly some type of heavy duty canister filter will be required. Given how sensitive Arowanas are, and how messy Oscars are, don't take chances here! I'd go with at least two big canister filters, so if one breaks down
or needs servicing, the other will still be running. The Fluval FX5 (900 gallons/hour) is a good budget option for really big tanks, and has had quite good reviews. You might also consider using a small pond filter instead. Aim for at least 6, and ideally 8-10, times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Your tank is about 400 US gallons, so aim for 2,400 gallons/hour, minimum.>
3. How much lighting will be advised. Either in luminous or size of the tube light.
<Couldn't matter less. If you want some floating plants and Java ferns to decorate the tank, then you'll need at least 2 watts/gallon given the depth of this tank. If you don't plan on using live plants, then use whatever lights you think make the fish look pretty. Gro-Lux tubes are nice.>
4. What kind of internal decorative advised?
<Minimal. The Arowana needs open swimming space. The Oscars will need a few caves; terracotta flower pots and similar such things work great.>
Thank you in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Easy beef heart recipe  10/5/09
how can I make a beef heart mixture in home?
<You don't. You freeze the beef heart, cut off small amounts when required, and then feed small pieces to your fish.>
how can I preserve it in normal temperature?
<You can't.>
is it a proper food for my Flowerhorn, Arowana and Oscars?
<It's an acceptable treat once or twice a week. Not a staple food.
Flowerhorn cichlids should be getting a mixture of quality pellets plus small invertebrates (such as mosquito larvae). Arowanas appreciate good quality pellets plus insects, particularly crickets, mealworms, beetles,
houseflies, and so on. Oscars will also take good quality pellets, but they also enjoy "crunchy" foods including unshelled shrimps and snails. All this information is on this web site: try exploring the site to get the information you want. Cheers, Neale.>

Arowana foods  12/18/05 Hi, I was just wondering what would be some good live fish to feed a 13" Silver Arowana? <Not live. Cut fish muscle/fillet, crickets and other insects and their larvae, night crawlers and other worms...> I also heard that feeding Arowanas live fish is bad for them, is this true? <Yes... can bring in disease, some cause gut blockage, behavioral anomalies...> I hear it can make their eyes go down instead of up. <Actually, this is more a matter of physical damage (in part from pursuing the live food I guess), but the animal jumping, bumping its head but good... Bob Fenner>

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